Ardley finds the positives as AFC Wimbledon draw a blank with Oxford United at fortress Kingsmeadow


Neal Ardley is revelling in Kingsmeadow’s fortress status after AFC Wimbledon were held to a goalless draw by visiting Oxford United on Saturday.

Sean Rigg’s late header was ruled out for offside denying the Dons what would have been a deserved first ever win over the Us.

Oxford were unable to replicate the city’s academics’ victory just across south west London in the boat race and their fruitless efforts handed Wimbledon an eighth home game without defeat.

Ardley said: “I thought we did everything but nick the game. We are really pleased with that. We feel we have made our home a fortress.

“I thought we were the better side and forced their goalkeeper into making three or four important saves.”

Ryan Sweeney was named man of the match on his full debut for the club, playing at centre-back and keeping returning Danny Hylton quiet throughout.

The hugely impressive 17-year-old is one of a number of academy products to have come through the ranks at Kingsmeadow this season, something boss Ardley is delighted about.

“There are lots of positives to take I feel. Will Nightingale and Sweeney have both made their debuts at centre back recently, which is a position that a lot of people do not want to take a chance on,” he said.

“It is brave from me and brave from the club. I hope everyone is pleased with the way that has gone.”

Despite the positives taken from the game, the Wimbledon boss was regretful that his side could not win the game for midfielder Sammy Moore, who lost his mother during the week.

“It has been a tough week,” said Ardley.

“Sammy’s mother collapsed on Monday at the Dagenham game and the day before the game she lost her battle. Sammy is heartbroken and so too are all his family. It has affected the boys.

“On the back of the Dagenham game, when we felt we had been hammered, this put it into perspective. Our thoughts are with Sammy and his family at this tough time.”

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